The Bellingham Factor: Can Real Madrid survive without his goals?

The remarkable initiation of Jude Bellingham into the Real Madrid realm may have eclipsed certain underlying issues within the team.

Over the past few seasons, a lot has changed at Real Madrid. Some of the biggest superstars of the game who were playing for the team in white during their historic Champions League three-peat are no longer a part of the club. While a few are still in the mix, a new generation has taken over, and Los Blancos have a new ‘Galactico’ in Jude Bellingham.

Real Madrid signed Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund for over €100 million during the summer transfer window. The 20-year-old central midfielder is playing in a more advanced role under Carlo Ancelotti. He is being used as an attacking midfielder and has already found the back of the net on 10 occasions in his 11 outings.

Bellingham is currently the top scorer of La Liga. He has been in sensational touch and has already scored quite a few winners for the Merengues. The England international has had a huge impact on the club and given their current situation, they were really in need of a hero.

While the 20-year-old contributing towards goals is a great sign for Real Madrid, they have become over-reliant on him of late. And, if and when his scoring run ends, Los Blancos are bound to struggle.

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Major Departures and Change in System

Real Madrid might have signed a few players in the summer, but it was not really the best transfer window for the club and its fans. The major reason was the departure of Karim Benzema. The former French international was the leader of the attack and the main source of goals.

His departure meant Real Madrid needed to bring in a world-class striker. But, Los Blancos decided against it. It was not just Benzema who left, with Marco Asensio also being one of the players who parted ways with the club.

Their departures meant Real Madrid lost a lot of firepower going forward. And, their decision to not sign a world-class striker was a major surprise because they were linked with some of the best in the business. However, they decided to wait until the summer of 2024 before making any major moves apart from the arrival of Bellingham.

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Ancelotti was well aware of the fact that he would have to go through the 2023/24 season without a top-quality number nine. As a result, he decided to make a major change in his system. The Italian loves playing the classic 4-3-3, but he shifted to a 4-4-2 with a diamond in the centre of the park.

He placed their marquee signing Bellingham at the top of the diamond as the attacking midfielder. And, Ancelotti gave the 20-year-old the freedom to do what he wanted to do and push for goals.

Real Madrid might not have dominated opposition in the 2023/24 season, but they have managed to end up on the right side of the result thanks to goals from the former Borussia Dortmund star. He has just made sure that the fans do not miss Benzema.

But, eventually, they might feel the absence of Real Madrid’s second-highest goal scorer ever. There might come a time when Bellingham’s scoring run could dry up, and that is when the team in white could really end up struggling.

Real Madrid’s goalscorers in 2023/24

The Merengues have featured in 12 matches this season, finding the back of the net on 24 occasions. 21 of those goals have come in their 10 league outings. The team in white averages 2 goals a game, which seems to be a decent number. But, out of their 24 goals, ten have been scored by Bellingham.

Apart from the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder, only Vinicius Junior (3) and Joselu (5) have scored more than one goal. Almost half of the goals have been scored by Bellingham, who is loving life in Madrid. The 20-year-old is making full use of playing as an attacking midfielder. But, should Real Madrid not be worried about the fact that their forwards are not scoring as many goals as they should and that a midfielder is their main source of goals?

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Bellingham is not a number nine, and he could endure a run where he might not find the back of the net on a consistent basis. And, that is when the real struggle will start for the Spanish giants. Last year, Federico Valverde had a similar start to the season, he was scoring goals for fun in the first half but the second half was not that kind.

However, he had the likes of Benzema and Vinicius who were finding the back of the net on a consistent basis. At this stage, Real Madrid are scoring goals, but their major source is a player who was not signed to score goals. He was brought to the club to further bolster their midfield and prepare for life without Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

Already in the 2023/24 season, we have seen a few matches where Real Madrid have struggled in front of goal. If Bellingham fails to find the back of the net, the team in white looks short of ideas, and this is something that could cost them major titles this season.

The Spanish giants are known for outscoring their opponents. But as things stand, they need more sources of goals or else the ship might eventually sink even if it looks like they are well on course for glory.

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